Golf–the Sport of Fools–dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: David Slotto
A few years ago we were so lucky to win a trip to golf Pinehurst #2. I drove the green on Hole 16 but missed my 4 foot birdie putt. :0(

Golf— the Sport of Fools
a Haibun

If you are serious about golf, I recommend that you stay away from any opportunity to join a foursome of which I am a part. It will take me about three strokes to catch up with your drive. I’m too old and too skinny to do otherwise. Frankly, I doubt if I have an athletic gene in my DNA. Ask any member of my 9-hole golf league. Or ask my long-suffering husband.

Why do I golf, you may ask. That’s a question I ask myself each morning I awaken and know that I have a scheduled tee time. But as soon as I walk approach the tee box on the first hole, look down the fairway at an expanse of green surrounded by trees, standing like a guard of honor to welcome me, as soon as I hear the songs of mockingbirds, wrens (and even those crows just waiting to really mock me), and as soon as the words of encouragement of friends raise my spirits or I hit that unexpected long fairway shot or make that troublesome putt, then I remember. Plus, I’ve golfed with 90-plus year-old’s. How better to keep our older bodies agile and alive. When I post my score at the end of the round, I only pray that no one waiting behind to do the same is peeking over my shoulder.

my drive soars skyward
boosted on by spring breezes
sun breaks through the clouds

This week’s Haibun challenge at dVerse Poets, hosted by Bjorn, is asking us to write of sports. Well, the Warriors beat out Cleveland last night for the NBA Championship, and that makes me happy (Sorry, Cleveland cousins and other fans) but, lets just say I never excelled in any sport other than swimming–that happens when you grow up in Southern California. But there is one sport that does keep me moving, other than dog-walking. And now you know.

 

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Monday Meanderings–Why Do I Do This to Myself?

I golf, or pretend to anyway. Once a week when I’m at home and more often in the desert where membership includes unlimited golf, I’m out there. I’m a really, really pathetic golfer. I have the highest handicap they allow (for those who don’t know about golf, that’s not good). I mutter words to myself I don’t usually use. I often ask myself why I engage in such tortuous sport, and yet, I love the game. Why?

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

• Golf is a game in which I compete against myself. It goads me to be a little better,  to work a bit harder in order to shave a stroke or two off of my score, and learn from my mistakes.
• My game improves when I remember to relax and let the club do the work. When I try too hard, swing too hard, all sorts of bad things happen, often ending with a splash or a lost ball.
• It teaches humility. Almost every time I think I’ve licked a problem, the next time out I fall flat on my face.
• Golf is a game of focus. When I remember to keep my eye on the ball and set aside the hundreds of swing thoughts that can pop into my mind, the shot will do what it’s supposed to.
• In golf, I’m learning to not worry so much about what others think. I promise you, if you’re not a pro, and out to impress your foursome, you will be brought down.
• It’s a game of the present moment. How many putts have I missed when I think, If I make this, I’ll have a birdie (or, for me, a par). See the caption below. Things go better if you just take it one stroke at a time.
• Golf teaches me to laugh at myself. If I couldn’t see the humor in some of the mist-hits I come up with, it would be so depressing.
• Golf is a sport you can do well into old age. This year at our home course in Palm Desert, we have a lady who belonged to the 18-Hole Women’s league. Now that she’s turned 90, she thought it might be a good idea to become a Lady 9’er instead.
• It’s exercise. As one who has done everything possible to eschew the e-word, who has nary a drop of athletic DNA, golf is fun. And it gives you a handicap to level the playing field.
• The game is played in the beauty of nature. Most courses offer landscapes that highlight the characteristics of the natural environment. Reclaimed water is used to maintain the greens and fairways. The course I have been playing this year here in Northern Nevada plays host to rabbits, coyotes and so many other species of wild life and birds. The “rough” consists of the natural desert. There are signs on some of the area courses warning golfers not to try to retrieve their balls from these hazards because of rattlesnakes.

"My" hole at Pinehurst #2. I drove the ball to about 4 feet from the hole and was so excited I missed the birdie putt. Photo: D. Slotto The Zenith of My Golf "Career"

“My” hole at Pinehurst #2.
I drove the ball to about 4 feet from the hole and was so excited I missed the birdie putt.
Photo: D. Slotto
The Zenith of My Golf “Career”

Of course there are downsides to golf. For one thing, if you take yourself and your game too seriously, it can be miserable. Also, until recently, it has been considered too expensive to be easily accessible to many people. That is true in many cases. There are courses I would never be able to play because of the greens fees. My golfing highlight occurred at Pinehurst #2, the course that will host the US Open next year…and that happened only because my husband won an all-expense-paid vacation there by participating in a survey about golf equipment preferences.

Efforts are underway to make golf available to more people—for example, The First Tee Program, that introduces the game to children of all income strata and is supported through donations.

I’m not sure why I chose to write about golf this week. It’s an activity that gives me a bit of balance in my own life, that demands focus, and lifts my spirit. Except on those days when I do feel like tossing my clubs in the water hazard.

May each of us find balance in our life. For those of us who write, it’s too easy to be wrapped up in our heads, settled in front of our laptops, isolated from everyone and the beauty of nature. I guess, bottom line, my hope is that we each will find joy aside from that which writing gives us. And that we may learn the lessons it has to offer, whatever it is.

Footnote: I will not be doing much blogging this week. Sometimes a girl just needs a break. It may be, if the weather keeps on like this I won’t golf…this kind of wind can make it even more challenging. And then there’s the garden, begging for attention. Have a happy week, writing and blogging and whatever else you do. Blessings.

Golfing Pinehurst–a Collection of Haiku

Golfing Pinehurst
a Collection of Haiku

There is no rough on Pinehurst #2...only what they call "waste land." It behooves you to stay in the fairway. The bunkers were my downfall.

i.
Pinehurst number two
home of the U.S Open ~
misty memories

This bronze statue commemorates Payne Stewart's U.S. Open win in 1999. He died soon after in a Plane Crash.

ii.
standing on the tee
lurking in giants’ footsteps
wasteland surrounds green

The "Wasteland"

I drove the green on this one then missed a 3' putt for my birdie. :0(

iii.
torrents of rain slice
sideways across the fairway
we golf anyway

There are a total of 8 courses at the Pinehurst Resort. On the 2nd day we played #8. It was wet at first but it just poured after the first 6 or 7 holes. We toughed it out for 11 but had to quit. We were soaked through and walking down the fairway you needed boots. This photo was taken before the rain set in.

During my blogging break, my husband and I spent two days golfing at one of the U.S. Open courses–Pinehurst, North Carolina. When my husband won this trip last year, I finally got serious about my game. Even now, I’m a high handicapper…as high as they will give you…but I’m amazed to find enjoyment on the course, most likely because golf submerges you in the beauty of nature.

Thank you to Gay Reiser Cannon at dVerse Poets Pub who gave us a comprehensive review of the art of classic Japanese Poetry, including haiku. I’ve been having trouble awakening my muse since returning home, and this is the first poem I’ve written in a while. I wanted to reflect a bit upon this experience.

Photo: David Slotto 9-22-11

All photos: David Slotto

Should You Choose to Die Today–dVerse Open Link Night

Rossway Lane, south of Tinker's Lodge. Dappled...

Image via Wikipedia

Should You Choose to Die Today

will the Earth withhold her
splendor for a moment
until she gasps for air,
the air that would be yours?

Most trees have lost their leaves
and quail forage in
dead brush.
I haven’t heard the coyote howl.

On my walk by the River
I saw a pair of doves.
A swallow rests, alone
on a branch of our ornamental pear
and feasts.

Although I posted this poem recently, I want to share it again today with the wonderful visitors to dVerse Poets Pub. I just returned from the funeral of a young woman who took her own life and this experience brought new meaning to these words for me.

On a personal note, I am happy to be back in the world of blogging after a few week’s break. Part of this time was spent on vacation in Colorado Springs and then in Pinehurst, North Carolina where I had the opportunity to golf Pinehurst #2, a course that has hosted the US Open. My husband won this trip. Our second day, we were able to golf 11 holes at another Pinehurst course before the rain forced us off the course. We were soaked to the bone but grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. AND on course #2, hole #15, my drive landed 3 feet to the left of the pin but then I was so excited about my birdie opportunity, I choked and missed the putt. And so it goes!

Come visit the pub at: http://dversepoets.com

 

Snowbird’s Lament–a Haibun NaPoWriMo Day 6

Mal dia para el golf

Image by Helpman 77 via Flickr

Snowbird Lament
a Haibun

Mockingbird failed me this morning—no song to rouse me from restless sleep. I drag my aching bones from bed and plod to the window, crack the blinds and greet a pewter sky. Heaviness, oppression.

Does all nature sense
the shifting winds and weather
April’s heaviness

Has the desert sun and palette of blue spoiled me for vagaries of spring? Will we be able to keep our nine-thirty tee time?

First tee—wind kicks up
my ball finds water
an excuse today

We go ahead and play eighteen. Gray skies tamp down the ball’s flight, slow down the putts it seems. Rain spits at us all morning.

Spring in Palm Desert
old people play rounds of golf
ignore aches and pains.

Written in response to Monday Morning Writing Prompt and for NaPoWriMo Day 6. The form is a haibun–a blend of prose and haiku.

https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/monday-morning-writing-prompt  6/ 

http://www.napowrimo.net/

 

 

 

Perfect Poet Award from Jingle–10/8/10

The Santa Rosa Mountains at dusk.

Image via Wikipedia

Perfect Poet’s Award from Jingle: 10/8/10–Thank You

Desert Swan: a Haiku

An errant golf ball

killed our peaceful desert swan.

Serenity died.

Sorry to do a sad one but when I saw the image I had to memorialize the beautiful swan we lost last year. Our home  (my mother’s, actually) in Palm Desert is on the 12th hole of a golf course, a water hazard. When I first began visiting my parents there, in the early 1980’s, there was a pair of swans. A few years later, the female was hit by a car, and the male remained alone. His job was to spar with the mallards who would visit, scaring them off to another hole. Last year my cousin came to visit and told us, when he arrived, that he thought something was the matter with the swan…indeed, there was. He’d been cold-cocked by a golf ball. It’s hard to describe the beauty he used to bring in the early morning hours when the rising sun cast a glow on the Santa Rosa Mountains, and reflected back onto the still water. He has not been replaced, to our chagrin.